Lemon-scented pull-apart loaf

December 29, 2010
December 29, 2010

Lemon-scented pull-apart loaf

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Lemon-scented pull-apart loaf

This morning my sister Rebe and I made this loaf instead of getting out of the house and going to a “real” bakery. And I will say I never thought homemade bread could make me feel so happy/jolly. As we sat at the table, pulling apart piece after piece of yum, we concluded that we couldn’t have gotten a better breakfast at a bakery. “We’re going to Broma Bakery today,” said Rebe. I mean, the bread in itself is out-of-this-world-good. It’s light and airy and has a lemon-y tang. Then the lemon cream cheese icing builds on the tang, and also balances the doughiness of the bread, making it moist and sweet. And who can resist ripping apart a perfect square of sweet bread? It’s like a gimmick to eat more. Rebe and I certainly couldn’t stop ourselves.

For the dough:

2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup granulated sugar
2 1/4 teaspoons (1 envelope) instant yeast
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup whole milk
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/4 cup water
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 large eggs, at room temperature

For the filling:

1/2 cup granulated sugar

Zest of 3 lemons
Zest of 1 orange
2 ounces unsalted butter, melted

For the icing: 

1/3 cup powdered sugar
3 ounces cream cheese, softened
1 tablespoon whole milk
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
In a medium bowl, mix 2 cups of the flour, the yeast, sugar, and salt using a rubber spatula. Meanwhile, melt the milk and butter until the butter is melted. Then, add the vanilla and the water and let sit until mixture is lukewarm. Pour the warm milk/butter mixture into the dry ingredients. Using a mixer with a paddle attachment, mix the dough on low speed while adding the eggs, one at a time. Stop the mixing, add 1/2 cup of the remaining flour, and turn the mixer on low again for about 30 seconds. Add two more tablespoons of flour, and mix for another 30-45 seconds. At this point the dough will be very sticky, but don’t worry!
Lightly flour a work surface and knead the dough gently until it is no longer sticky. If needed, add another 1-2 tablespoons of flour. Place the dough in a large bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Let sit in a warm, dry place for 45-60 minutes, until the dough nearly doubles in size. The dough is ready when you poke it and your finger print stays indented.
Meanwhile, in a small bowl, whisk together the lemon and orange zest with the sugar. Set aside.
Once the dough is risen, pat it down and roll it out into a 20″x12″ rectangle (do measure this out, because it is important for all your dough pieces to be the same size). If your dough isn’t even, use a pizza cutter to cut a perfect rectangle. Spread the melted butter (set aside for the filling) onto the dough, and make sure to use it all! Next sprinkle the sugar mixture evenly over the dough, rubbing the sugar mixture into the dough. Then, cut the dough into five equal 4″x12″ strips. Set each strip on top of each other, so you end up with five stacked 4″x12″ strips. Cut the strips into six 2″x4″ rectangles. 
Transfer the rectangles to the dough pan so they stand up with the cut end face up, side by side. Cover with plastic wrap and let the dough rise for an additional 30-50 minutes. 
Bake the loaf in a greased 9″x5″ bread pan in a 350°F oven for 40 minutes, until the top of the loaf is golden brown. Once baked, transfer to a wire rack and let cool for 10 minutes.
While the loaf is baking, combine the cream cheese, confectioner’s sugar, lemon juice, and milk until smooth in consistency. Pour over the warm loaf and fill in the cracks with icing. Mangia!

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  1. “Once the dry ingredients are moistened . . .” What are they to be moistened with? It appears all liquids are utilized in the milk mixture. Thanks for any clarification you can offer. 🙂

  2. Just made this and it turned out perfectly! Elegant and addictive. (i haven’t done a lot of breads, but your recipe was really easy to follow)

  3. Do you put the vanilla and water in with the yeast and dry ingredients or in with the melted butter and milk? I am very confused reading that part of the instructions?